– Would you like to invent anything?
– How would you work?
– Would you work on your own or cooperate with anybody? Why?
How people invent
People have produced millions of useful inventions, from the simplest prehistoric
devices to the most complicated modern machines. These inventions generally develop from
what can be called the inventive process. According to an old saying, “Necessity is the
mother of invention”. So in this process, an inventor first recognizes a need for an
invention. But it takes more than necessity for an invention to be created. The successful
inventor must also possess three important factors: the knowledge, the technical capacity,
and creative insight to produce the invention.
To create an invention, the inventor must have some practical understanding of how it will work. For example, the prehistoric person who invented the bow and arrow had to know that a tree branch could be bent to serve as a bow. The person also had to understand that an arrow could be shot by pulling back a string attached to both ends of the branch, then releasing the string.
Technical capacity refers to the materials, parts, and tools that an inventor must have to create an invention. Throughout history, inventors have had ideas for inventions but lacked the technical capacity to produce them. For example, many inventors wanted to build a flying machine long before the 1900’s, but they lacked one essential part – an engine powerful enough to make their machine fly, yet small enough to be practical. Such an engine – the gasoline engine – was not developed until the late 1800’s. its development helped make it possible for two American inventors, Orville and Wilbur Wright, to build the first successful airplane in 1903.
Creative insight is an inventor’s ability to arrive at the key idea that blends his or her knowledge and technical capacity into an invention. In most cases, an invention comes up with his key idea after a long period of trial and error. So Orville and Wilbur Wright knew they needed specially shaped wings that would help lift an airplane off the ground and keep it in the air. The brothers tried many shapes before finding one that provided sufficient lifting power. But occasionally, an inventor forms an important idea as a result of an accident. So it happened to the American inventor Charles Goodyear who tried for five years to find a way to make rubber a useful product. He wanted rubber that would not melt in the heat or become brittle and stiff in the cold. Goodyear applied various treatments to “gum elastic”, as he called rubber, but none worked. One winter night in 1839, Goodyear was at home talking with his brother. In his hand, Goodyear held a peace of rubber on which he had sprinkled sulfur. He accidentally dropped the rubber onto a red-hot stove. To his surprise, instead of melting, the rubber flattened out into a small disk. After he lifted the rubber form the stove, he found it was still flexible and strong. Goodyear hund the disk on his doorpost overnight in the winter cold. The next morning, the disk still had its rubberlike qualities. So Goodyear had accidentally invented vulcanization. But in nearly all cases of accidental inventions, the inventors were highly trained specialists. They had worked on the invention a long time and were alert to its problems. They had the intelligence and experience to recognize that an accident had provided them with the key ideas that solved their problems.
I. Replace the underlined words in the sentences with the word below:
trained practical applied produced
ability necessity essential
inventor capacity occasionally
1. People have created millions of useful inventions.
2. Technical ability refers to the materials, parts and tools.
3. Creative insight is an inventor’s skill to arrive at the key idea.
4. Sometimes, an inventor forms an important idea as a result of an accident.
5. A producer first recognizes a need for an invention.
6. The inventors were highly educated specialists.
7. Goodyear tried various treatments.
8. They lacked one main part – a powerful engine.
9. The inventor must have some proper understanding of how the invention will work.
10. Need is the mother of invention.
II. Draw a line to connect the words that go together. Compose sentences of your own with these word combinations:
1. creative 1. devices
2. complicated 2. part
3. key 3. power
4. accidental 4. process
5. useful 5. capacity
6. technical 6. insight
7. lifting 7. machines
8. the simplest 8. invention
9. essential 9. product
10. inventive 10. idea
I. Circle the letter of the best answer:
1. Paragraph 1 tells that
a) “Necessity is the mother of invention”
b) people have always been inventing something.
c) necessity is not enough to invent something.
2. The main topic of Paragraph 2 is
b) the inventive process
c) successful inventors.
3. The main topic of Paragraph 3 is
a) a flying machine
b) the process of creation
c) technical capacity.
4. The last Paragraph is mainly about
a) scientific experiments
b) creative insight
c) accidental inventions.
I. Find the details to complete these sentences:
1. Technical capacity refers to ________________________.
2. _______________________ prevented inventors from producing their ideas.
3. A successful inventor must possess three important factors _____________________.
4. Many inventors wanted _________________________ long before the 1900’s.
5. Vulcanization was invented _________________.
6. The brothers Wright tried __________________ before finding the necessary one.
7. __________________________ was not developed until the late 1800’s.
8. Goodyear applied various treatments but _______________________.
9. The first successful airplane was built in ________________________.
10. Inventions generally develop from what can be called ____________________.
I. Answer the following questions. Work in pairs or groups:
1. What do many inventions develop from?
2. Is necessity enough for an invention to be created?
3.What must the successful inventor possess?
4. Why is knowledge of great importance?
5. What does technical capacity refer to?
6. What prevented the brothers Wright from building a flying machine?
7. What is creative insight?
8. Is experimenting of great importance for an inventor?
9. What about accidental invention?
10. What is the base of an accidental invention?
II. Make a list of key-words. Render the text using this list. Try to express your own opinion.
III. Discuss with your classmates:
1. Don’t inventors or experiments sometimes seem eccentric or even foolish?
2. What qualities must an inventor possess?
3. Is the inventor’s professionalism an essential part of his success?
I. Suppose you are going to interview an inventor. What would you ask him|/her about? Compose as many questions as possible.
Choose any invention. Find out:
– Who was it created by?
– What person was the inventor?
– What was the process of invention like?
– Tell your classmates about your research.
– Ask them about what they have found out.